People enjoy attractively designed gardens, public parks and playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, shopping centers, golf courses, and parkways. Landscape architects design these areas so they are not only functional but also beautiful and harmonious with the natural environment. They plan the location of buildings, roads, and walkways, and the arrangement of flowers, shrubs, and trees. They also design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, mined areas, and forested land.
Hours: Although many landscape architects work approximately 40 hours per week, about 1 in 5 worked more than 50 hours per week in 2008, as long hours and work during nights and weekends is often necessary to meet deadlines.
Opportunities: There should be good job opportunities overall as demand for landscape architecture services increases, but new graduates can expect to face competition for jobs in the largest and most prestigious landscape architecture firms. Many employers prefer to hire entry-level landscape architects who have internship experience, which significantly reduces the amount of on-the-job training required. Opportunities will be best for landscape architects who develop strong technical skills—such as computer design—communication skills, and knowledge of environmental codes and regulations. Those with additional training or experience in urban planning increase their opportunities for employment in landscape architecture firms that specialize in site planning as well as landscape design.
Pay: In May 2008, median annual wages for landscape architects were $58,960. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,840 and $77,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,520 and the highest 10 percent earned over $97,370. Architectural, engineering, and related services employed more landscape architects than any other group of industries, and there the median annual wages were $59,610 in May 2008.
Training: A bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture usually is necessary for entry into the profession. Sixty-seven colleges and universities offered undergraduate or graduate programs in landscape architecture that were accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2009. There are two undergraduate professional degrees: a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA). These programs usually require 4 or 5 years of study for completion. Those who hold an undergraduate degree in a field other than landscape architecture can enroll in a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) graduate degree program, which typically takes 3 years of full-time study to complete. Those who hold undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture can earn their MLA in 2 years.
Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Landscape Architects, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos039.htm (visited March 01, 2011).
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